Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lofty ambition

We have a smallish house, with smallish rooms and kids who are only getting bigger. Since an addition to the house isn't feasible, we decided to make use of the space above by building the kids loft beds, with built in dressers and bookshelves and space for a desk underneath.

We started with this plan for a twin sized loft bed. We decided to scrap the desk part, because it is kind of small and the kids have pretty decent desks already. We also made both sides be full shelves, instead one being short. Additionally, we went with full sized beds instead of twin, since the kids are only going to get bigger.  Making it full sized added 15 inches to all cross pieces, because full sized beds are the same length, just slightly wider, than twin sized. 

We started by buying piles of wood, screws, and gallons of polyurethane. Seriously, save yourself the headache and buy the gallon size. I went back 4 times to get more because I kept saying "nah, I've got enough, it's totally fine" I did not have enough and it was not totally fine! 

And getting the kids started early on learning how to make things.  

If you buy the better quality lumber, you don't have to do nearly as much sanding. Of course, that costs more money. For us, I had more time than money, so I bought the cheap stuff and sanded it smooth. We ended up spending about $200 in material and two solid weekends building it. Probably a minimum of 20 hours, between the two of us. But, the comparable bed from <a href=>Pottery Barn</a> cost $1500, plus shipping, so I feel like we still came out ahead. 

Then we built two boxes

And added shelves. 

Then we built the head and footboards. The plans call for 1x3s and if you can afford decent lumber, they are fine. We bought the cheapest crap they had and I was disappointed in the final product. For this bed, we talked about getting better 1x3s, but they were a lot more per board and we ended up going with cheap 1x4s and they were much better and cheaper. 

We had to make sure to leave spaces for the cross brace pieces, which took forever, to get each piece lined up and flush and then attached and then spaced correctly, etc. You can see at the corner of this picture some spacers that RF made. They were really useful and made it go a lot faster. 

Then we attached the headboards to the bookshelves and took the two pieces into the bedroom. We attached the rails and cross brace pieces. 

The pieces that hold the slats and the mattress are supposed to be 2x4s but that makes the mattress too tall and puts the kids right into the ceiling fan, so we decided on 2x2s instead. 

Then the slats are attached and trim is added above the rail pieces. 

This picture doesn't have the ladder on yet, because using the 1x4s makes the ladder easier to climb and makes it feel more secure but proved to be a problem to cut with our 10" radial arm saw. The blade just wasn't quite big enough to cut all the way through. We eventually got it but it took a lot more finagling than the rest of the bed. 

We decided to use fabric baskets instead of drawers for the dresser end, because they have to be custom fit and cost a fortune! The shelves each hold 4 baskets, so they could conceivably have 16 different baskets, if they needed them. WF had a chest high four drawer dresser and everything that came out of it fit in these four baskets, so they hold a lot more than you might think. It does get kind of dark under the bed, so I'm hoping to not fill all the shelves so at least some light can get in rio round the shelves. 

His desk that he already had fits perfectly under it and my parents had a chair (not that monster in the other picture. It's a cute little club chair) that fits in the corner, by the tv and eventually, we will get them wall mounted TVs, so the only thing on the floor, will be the bed. 

The only problem is, they have a lot more visible floor, so they have less place to stash junk and I'm on them to keep it clean a lot more! 

We still need to get his mattress ordered.  We got her's from Walmart and it is super comfortable. It cost $150 and comes shipped like this:

And you'd really expect it to be junk, but she loves it and says she sleeps so well on it. We'll be getting him one as well, it will just be a little bit before we get it ordered. 

We will also add "ground effects" to the underside of the bed, to act as a nightlight and to add a little light in the desk area. These are on her bed. An 18 foot string of white rope lights from Big Lots fits perfectly around the inside.